Research about the Japanese practice of forest bathing shows that time spent in nature lowers stress levels – and could even help fight cancer.
It’s widely assumed that escaping the noise and stress of the city to spend some time in nature is good for us. In recent years scientists have been putting this assumption to the test, and evidence is mounting of the positive effects of contact with nature on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
Some of the most interesting evidence of the health benefits of nature is coming out of Japan, and revolves around the popular practice of ‘Shinrinyoku’ or ‘forest bathing’. The practice was introduced in 1982 in a prescient move by the Forest Agency of Japan to encourage a healthy lifestyle and decrease stress levels. Forest bathing has now become a recognised relaxation and stress management activity in Japan – but studies conducted in the last few years shows forest bathing is also increasing a component of the immune system that fights cancer.
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